3 Ways to Make Yourself a Leader instead of Just a Boss

Leader of ...
Image by: By UK in Italy
By Richard K. Noots

The differences between being a good and bad boss are usually made clear by first serving under one, and then becoming one. Whether or not you step on the path to being a delight to work under, is up to you. Don’t screw the people working for you (Figurative and literal!), be impartial and continuing to do good work are just some examples of what sets these two styles of management apart. What some people don’t know is: you have to be more than just a good boss that employees enjoy working under to be successful.

You see, being a good boss is all fine and dandy for your run-of-the-mill middle level manager. Hell, even some corporate executives get away with merely being pretty decent at their jobs. Not you, though. You want to be ahead of the pack. You need to be someone people not only enjoy working for, but actively want to follow. This is called being a leader. It’s what everyone should strive for, but no one should take pride in. You see, being a leader means having a sense of humbleness that belies the confidence to accomplish anything.

#1) Stand out with your personality!

A good leader is charismatic. This isn’t a talent everyone is born with, unfortunately. If you find yourself not being the most personable guy around, you’ll need to take steps to achieve it. One of the best ways to learn is to simply not talk as much. You don’t always need to dazzle everyone with your input, but you should think before you speak. Being able to listen and let others give their ideas, thoughts and venting is actually a skill most people lack these days, interestingly enough.

Charisma is also important in one other factor: looks. A slightly unnerving fact about societies is we tend to favor the more attractive members of our species. Luckily for you, you’re only as attractive as you feel! You need to dress and act the part. You can see our Style section for more details, but you basically want clothes that fit, mongrel (I kid!). Stand up straight and proud, work on your posture and as a matter of fact, go ahead and work out a little too.

#2) Believe in what you work for.

Another thing that separates your average boss and your good leaders is how much you actually enjoy working for your company. This does have a bit to do with whatever your company does for money, as you might have figured. You’re less likely to garner the adoration of your peers working for Pizza Hut. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, just unusual. You should at least be happy with your job. If you’re not, why would you expect anyone to be happy with you?

It’s important to know what your company’s mission is, and actively seek to help accomplish it. Hopefully your job is one that rewards hard work and determination, because this where you’ll begin to move away from the herd, but in a good way. You’ll have to have dedication, because leaders aren’t in their job for the 7 hour work day. You’ll need to be career-minded, so make sure this is the market that you want to throw one hundred percent of yourself in.

#3) Make friends with your coworkers!

Although this might be difficult sometimes as a boss, you should be able to mingle with the people you work with on a casual level if you want to be truly amazing. It goes unmentioned that you need to be able to avoid mixing work and play as well. Have fun, and encourage active participation among your peers with whatever activities you or your job may come up with. Sometimes, those company functions can actually be a good thing.

At the very least, treat everyone with respect when you deal with them. Treat them as though they were a friend of your grandfather, and let people lead the conversation. All you need to is encourage a common discourse and with an agreeable attitude. People will begin to find you as a person they can appreciate and trust. That sounds like a friend to me, what about you?

Common sense is the most important quality one will have to hone. Chances are you’ll know if you’re lacking it when you read this article title and thought, “I already am a great leader!” A great leader is one that is always looking to others around him for support. a great leader knows that the only way to truly be great, is to encourage everyone to be great with you, together. It may sound a bit cheesy, but that’s the difference between earning a paycheck and creating a mindset.

How do you challenge yourself to be a better person? Do you strive for success at work? Or are you a leader in your hobbies?